So my totally awesome sister gave me a copy of Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker for Christmas. That’s right, for Christmas. And here we are at the end of May. Where I’m writing about this amazing book. That I’ve finally finished reading.

Don’t judge.

I love Jen’s writing style – it’s conversational and down to earth. Kind of like kicking back with your bestie and a glass of wine. Plus there’s that new book smell. Go on, take a whiff. You know you want to.

Last week BrightSide wandered into the kitchen and found me flipping through pages, stopping once in a while to take a photo. This isn’t typical post-read behavior for me so he was curious. I told him I wanted pics of the recipes and he was all, “oh, so it’s a book of recipes?” That’s when I realized how tricky it would be to describe this particular read.

So here’s my best shot: it’s 254 pages of witty wisdom blips. Jen knows her readers. We’re getting pulled in forty directions while our hair’s on fire and the smoke alarm’s going off, which basically means there’s zero chance we can reliably focus on an intellectual tome. We need our wisdom in chunks, preferably ones we can read in the school pickup line or while waiting for dance lessons to end.

It’s thoughts on things like motherhood and guilt, Netflix binges, escaping the doldrums with Aunt Carol’s Crunchy Salad, and the power of fangirling your friends. As a bonus Jen includes nifty tips like How To Ruin Your Teenager’s Life, How To Help Your Middle Schooler With Math Homework, How To Get Funny Looks From Your Child’s Sunday School Teacher, How To Guarantee The Dog Will Throw Up On Your Bed, and How To Make Your House Look Clean While You Have Been Watching Netflix All Day Because You Really Really Needed To Finish The Series You’re Locked Into.

Here are just a few nuggets I gleaned from Of Mess and Moxie:

  • “Loved people love people. Forgiven people forgive people. Adored people adore people. Freed people free people.” (page 78)
  • “If you could hear the things our ears have heard in this house while managing to not fall out of our chairs, you would nominate us for awards and prizes and parades. Sometimes your brain has to tell your face to pull it together while your adrenaline loses its crap invisibly…Our teens need to know that we are for them and with them, not just when they are performing well but in struggle, failure, calamity.” (page 238)
  • “There is a fake idea swirling around out there that says if marriage is hard, we’re doing it wrong. If our person gets on our nerves or still does that one frustrating thing after two decades, moving on to a different man would fix everything that is difficult. It’s nonsense. Really.” (page 109)
  • “I cook dinner around three days a week. This feels like a smashing victory. On the other days, we eat leftovers, takeout, random food, or FFY (Fend For Yourself). This bothers me zero percent. I have not batted 1,000 for any single category in the whole of my life…so everyone be cool. Gather up all your chill and do the best you can, even if that means one day of homemade and six days of Count Chocula.” (pages 201-202)

Pick up a copy and check it out. Preferably with a glass of wine and a bestie.